The Next Step for Smollett


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ella Arnold, Co-editor

Jussie Smollett, one of the stars of the show Empire, has been indicted on 16 felony crimes after a jury ruled that the racist and homophobic acts that he had reported on January 29 were staged by the actor himself.

“Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony),” said Anthony Guglielimi, spokesperson for the Chicago Police. “Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.”

In February, Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct for the alleged false report he filed on the incident, where Smollett claimed that two masked men physically assaulted him, poured acid on his body, and hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him.

Smollett originally failed to comply with the investigation, and refused to turn over his phone and phone records to the Chicago P.D., claiming that he had been on the phone with his manager during the attack. As more information began to surface about the attack, Smollett released a PDF of partial phone records to the police.

After Chicago police further investigated Smollett’s phone records, as well as video recordings from nearby businesses from the night Smollett claimed to be attacked, it was deduced that Smollet, unhappy with his salary of $125,000 dollars an episode, wrote himself a “threatening letter.” After this letter failed to gain enough attention from producers and the audience of Empire, Smollett went on to allegedly hire two attackers to assault him, and paid $3,500 to orchestrate the attack. Brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundario, the alleged attackers, have not yet been charged.

Smollett, a black, homosexual actor, “took advantage of the pain and anger in racism to promote his career,” says Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson.

Smollett still adheres to his original claims of innocence, and first issued a statement to the public on February 1st. “I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level,” said Smollett. “Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”